• Part of a roofline shows from one building. Trees with fall color leaves on them fill most of the photo. A lamp-post is near center of the photo.

    Harpers Ferry Center

FAQs About Arrowhead Artwork

Question 1: What's the difference between a Postscript and non-Postscript printer?

Simply put, a Postscript printer enables you to successfully print a Postscript (EPS) image, such as one of our Postscript arrowheads. If you print a Postscript arrowhead to a non-Postscript printer, your results will generally not look very good (images will look coarse or grainy and often have rough edges).

Postscript is a "Page Description Language" created by Adobe Systems, Inc. (the same company that markets Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop). Because of its robust capabilities to faithfully print complex illustrations, highly detailed type at very large or very small sizes, and complex colors to exacting standards, it is the preferred format for professional printers and graphic designers. Postscript printers are a bit more expensive than standard desktop printers, however, so many parks and offices do not have them.


Question 2: How do I know if I have a Postscript printer?

Our advice is to print one of our Postscript arrowheads on your desktop printer. If the results look coarse or grainy, or the artwork has some rough edges, then you probably have a non-Postscript printer. If such is the case, use our non-Postscript arrowhead files. If a Postscript arrowhead prints with a white box behind it, then your printer is non-Postscript (see Question 3 below).

It's still a good idea to check your printer's documentation to see if you do indeed have an Adobe Postscript compatible printer. In some cases, for instance, you may have a Postscript printer, but your software printer driver may be incorrectly configured. Consult your printer documentation, software documentation, or contact your IT personnel for guidance and assistance.


Question 3: Can I get an arrowhead that prints without a white box behind it?

Yes. A Postscript (EPS) arrowhead, when used with a Postscript printer, will print over a photograph, black background or colored background without a white square or white box behind it (Note: when you view an EPS arrowhead on your computer screen, a white square or white box will still usually appear behind it). A TIF (non-Postscript) arrowhead, on the other hand, will always have a white box behind it unless you've saved it in an application like Photoshop with a transparent or black background. To place a black background behind a TIF arrowhead, you'll need to modify the TIF arrowhead file using the layers feature in a "paint" program such as Photoshop.


Question 4: When I print a Postscript arrowhead, the output doesn't look very good. Why?

You must print a Postscript (EPS) arrowhead on a Postscript printer. If you print an EPS arrowhead to a non-Postscript printer, the image will generally appear coarse or grainy. If you don't have access to an Adobe Postscript compatible printer, you should either use a non-Postscript (TIF) format arrowhead or use Adobe Acrobat Distiller to convert your document (containing the EPS arrowhead) into a format that will print properly on a non-Postscript printer (see also Question 7 below).


Question 5: Why must I use Postscript arrowhead artwork for my large signs or banners?

Most Postscript (EPS) files can be scaled in software applications to very large sizes without any loss of detail. Non-Postscript (TIF) files, on the other hand, lose detail and become extremely coarse and grainy if you attempt to enlarge them. (see also Question 7 below).


Question 6: I don't have a Postscript printer. How can I get optimum output from a Postscript arrowhead?

If you prefer the advantages of a Postscript arrowhead (e.g. no "white box" behind it) but only have a non-Postscript printer, you have two options:

  • Purchase the full version of Adobe Acrobat, which includes Acrobat Distiller. This software will create an Acrobat PDF (Portable Document Format) file from the document in which you have placed a Postscript EPS arrowhead. The Acrobat PDF file will then print properly to a non-Postscript printer.
  • Purchase a software RIP (Raster Image Processor). A software RIP will take the place of a printer's Postscript engine, and can be installed locally on your hard drive. This option prevents you from having to create a separate document such as PDF file to print your document correctly, but not all printers are compatible with software RIPs. Prices range from $100 to $3,000 depending on the printer and your specific needs.


Question 7: What file formats are arrowhead files furnished in?

We provide four arrowhead file formats on this website: DOC, EPS, TIF, and GIF.

DOC (Microsoft Word)

Use one of these versions to retrieve and print an arrowhead that has already been placed in a Microsoft Word document.

EPS (Encapsulated Postscript)

Use EPS (Postscript) files when you have a Postscript printer or are using Adobe Acrobat Distiller to process your files (see Question 6 above). EPS files are "vector" based, meaning the shapes, typography, and colors are described in the file by precise mathematical formulas. These files print clearly and crisply at resolutions ranging from 300 dpi (laser-printer) to 2450 dpi (image-setter), have a transparent background (no "white box" behind them), and are preferred by professional printers and graphic designers. If you print an EPS format arrowhead on a non-Postscript printer, it will generally appear coarse or grainy.

TIF (Tagged Image File)

Use TIF (non-Postscript) files when you do not have a Postscript printer, are placing the arrowhead on a plain background, or are using the arrowhead at smaller sizes. Since TIF files are defined by pixels (or dots) per inch, they are NOT resolution independent (e.g. you generally cannot resize them without distorting them). The size limitations are noted on the arrowhead artwork download pages.

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)

This format is used only for Web pages, PowerPoint slide shows or screen-based multimedia applications. The resolution is too low to be reproduced in print, and the color information is not as accurate as that output by TIF or EPS files.


Question 8: Why can't I open the arrowhead file I downloaded?

The arrowhead files are not meant to be opened directly. Instead, they should be "placed" or "imported" into your page composition software application (e.g. Microsoft Word, Adobe InDesign, etc.), where you can then view them, position them, and ultimately print them. Also refer to our Download Instructions page.


Question 9: What are the Pantone (PMS) matching colors for the Arrowhead artwork?

Foreground dark green (grass and trees) is PMS 553C; Middleground dark rust (mountain) is PMS 1615C; Background medium rust (sky) is PMS 1605C; Bison, lake, snowfield and type are White.

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